Disrupting gender norms in health systems: making the case for change

The Lancet, Gender Equality, Norms, and Health Steering Committee, Published May 30, 2019

Summary

Restrictive gender norms and gender inequalities are replicated and reinforced in health systems, contributing to gender inequalities in health.
In this Series paper, we explore how to address all three through recognition and then with disruptive solutions.
We used intersectional feminist theory to guide our systematic reviews, qualitative case studies based on lived experiences, and quantitative analyses based on cross-sectional and evaluation research.
We found that health systems reinforce patients’ traditional gender roles and neglect gender inequalities in health, health system models and clinic-based programmes are rarely gender responsive, and women have less authority as health workers than men and are often devalued and abused.
With regard to potential for disruption, we found that gender equality policies are associated with greater representation of female physicians, which in turn is associated with better health outcomes, but that gender parity is insufficient to achieve gender equality. We found that institutional support and respect of nurses improves quality of care, and that women’s empowerment collectives can increase health-care access and provider responsiveness.
We see promise from social movements in supporting women’s reproductive rights and policies. Our findings suggest we must view gender as a fundamental factor that predetermines and shapes health systems and outcomes. Without addressing the role of restrictive gender norms and gender inequalities within and outside health systems, we will not reach our collective ambitions of universal health coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals. We propose action to systematically identify and address restrictive gender norms and gender inequalities in health systems.

I looked at 100 best-selling picture books: female protagonists were largely invisible

Sarah Mokrzycki, The Conversation, June 3, 2019 6.08am AEST

In April 2019, I examined the 100 bestselling picture books at Australian book retailer Dymocks: an almost 50/50 mix of modern and classic stories (the majority being published in the past five years).

I discovered that despite the promising evolution of the rebel girl trend, the numbers tell us that picture books as a whole remain highly gendered and highly sexist. Worse – female protagonists remain largely invisible.

How we tackle gender in picture books is important, as they help inform children’s understanding of the world and themselves.

 

One in six Australian women experience abuse before they are 15, data shows

Damning new data about Australia’s rates of domestic and sexual violence reveal that one in six women experience abuse before they are 15 and one woman is killed by her partner every nine days.

Based on national population surveys and set against a backdrop of declines in overall violence, rates of partner violence and sexual violence have remained relatively stable since 2005, a new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows.

Is the world becoming more gay-friendly?

via BBC 29/05/2019

When Taiwan became the first place in Asia to legalise same-sex unions, hundreds of gay people marked the occasion by registering to marry.

It marked a significant change on the island, where the majority of people only relatively recently became supportive of same-sex relationships.

In many other places there has also been a shift – often a rapid one – towards more liberal attitudes. But these changes do not always mean full equality.

Let’s make it mandatory to teach respectful relationships in every Australian school

The Conversation, May 28, 2019 5.45am AEST

Media reports of findings from the latest National Community Attitudes towards Violence against Women Survey caused a stir in recent days, with some highlighting the importance of education programs to teach young people about gender-based violence.

Schools play a significant role in educating young people about gender-based violence and helping change the underlying attitudes that lead to it.

SHINE SA and FPAA condemn Alabama law to ban abortions (media release)

On 17 May 2019, Family Planning Alliance Australia (FPAA) released a statement condemning a new law in Alabama which makes abortion a crime in almost all cases. This is the most restrictive abortion law in the United States and follows a wave of anti-abortion laws in 2019¹.

FPAA state:

“The restrictive and extreme abortion ban violates women’s reproductive rights and penalises health care practitioners for providing basic health care. As an organisation committed to empowering reproductive choice and improving access to health care, we find this law disturbing and unjust.”

Natasha Miliotis, SHINE SA’s Chief Executive Officer said that:

“SHINE SA supports the FPAA statement and recognises that access to safe abortion services reduces the mortality and morbidity that occurs as a result of dangerous and illegal abortion. This is evidenced by a higher frequency of abortion-related deaths in countries with restrictive abortion laws than in countries with less restrictive laws².

SHINE SA, a member of FPAA, advocates for reproductive freedom and for provision of legal, safe, affordable and accessible abortion in Australia and worldwide. We recognise that trans, gender diverse and intersex people may also need access to abortion, but also that measures such as this disproportionately affect women.

SHINE SA believes that both medical and surgical abortion are safe and effective health interventions and that abortion is a private medical decision that should not be politicised.”

To read the FPAA statement visit this link. For further information contact Tracey Hutt, Director Workforce Education and Development via email. 

 

¹ https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/17/we-have-to-fight-alabamas-extreme-abortion-ban-sparks-wave-of-activism

² https://www.researchgate.net/publication/26677181_Unsafe_Abortion_Unnecessary_Maternal_Mortality